Disaster Relief Imaging

Massive landslide on outskirts of Muzaffarabad. Image courtesy DLR, Kathryn Cramer, Google Earth

On October 8, 2005, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake damaged a widespread area across northern Pakistan and border areas of India, flattening buildings and triggering massive landslides. Over 70,000 people lost their lives, and many more were injured or left without shelter.

Travel was difficult in the mountainous area before the quake, but the landslides made it impossible to reach much of the region by ground. Satellite imagery was important to help understand which routes were blocked by landslides, and which remote areas needed the most help.


To view satellite imagery of the landslides and structures damaged by the Pakistani earthquake, please click on Pakistan earthquake dynamic overlay. This link should download a file and automatically bring up Google Earth (if not, see the help below).
How to use:

  • Red dots show where individual satellite images are located.
  • Zoom in far enough to see only a single red dot, then wait. The overlay will automatically load the picture closest to your view.
  • In the upper left of the screen, you'll see details about when the picture was taken, and what resolution the picture is being displayed at in Google Earth.
  • If the current picture is shown at less than full resolution, you can zoom in closer to see more detail.
  • This link will fly you to Muzaffarabad in Google Earth, one of the areas affected.


  • You must have installed the Google Earth application to use this overlay. It's a free download from earth.google.com.
  • If clicking on the Pakistan earthquake dynamic overlay link above doesn't bring up Google Earth, you can save the katrina-dynamic-outlines-netlink.kml file and then manually run Google Earth. Go to File / Open and open this file manually.
  • You have to stop panning or zooming for a moment to let the overlay update

For more resources, please browse to http://gc.cs.cmu.edu/rapid/pakistan/.